<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - Top Stories]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego http://www.nbcsandiego.comen-usFri, 26 Aug 2016 01:34:42 -0700Fri, 26 Aug 2016 01:34:42 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Woman Who Lodged Man's Body in Car Faces Murder Charge: DA]]> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 13:44:40 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/8-25-16-Sanchez-Readiness.JPG

A woman accused of killing a pedestrian in a bloody hit-and-run and then driving for half a mile with his body lodged in the front seat will now be charged with murder, according to an amended complaint filed by the San Diego County District Attorney's office Thursday. 

Esteysi Sanchez Izazaga, 29, who goes by Stacy Sanchez, will now face a murder charge, in addition to several felonies, including gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, hit and run, driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury, driving with a measurable blood alcohol causing injury and a misdemeanor count of driving without a license.

When asked why the office filed the amended complaint and what evidence they have to support it, Deputy District Attorney Bob Bruce said that information would come out at the preliminary hearing, set for Oct. 26. 

"There will be a time and a place for the facts to come out on record," Bruce said. 

At her arraignment, Sanchez pleaded not guilty to the charges. Her bail was previously set at $1.5 million. 

Outside the court hearing, protesters with The Remembrance Project rallied. When they learned officials had filed a new charge, protesters were happy. 

"Very thankful," said Brenda Sparks, whose son died from injuries suffered in a crash. "I was very happy. At least she is getting charged with something that she did."

On Monday, June 27, Sanchez veered onto the sidewalk on the 4000 block of Mission Avenue in Oceanside and hit victim Jack Tenhulzen at random, police said. 

Prosecutors say Sanchez was driving so fast, she hit Tenhulzen and stripped him of his clothing.

"He went head first through her windshield, landing in a crumpled heap on her passenger seat," Aimee McLeod, a San Diego County Deputy District Attorney, said.

Two hours after the crash, prosecutors said Sanchez had a blood alcohol level of 0.18-0.19, more than double the legal limit. 

Tenhulzen's leg detached from his body and flew through the back window, landing on the trunk of the car, police said. 

Sanchaz continued driving for approximately half a mile, police said. She parked the vehicle and walked away before officers arrived, police said.

"She claimed she fell asleep and only woke up when she felt glass covering her face and saw this dead person in the passenger seat," McLeod said.

Shortly after she abandoned the car, prosecutors say Sanchez called her boyfriend, walked home and changed her outfit. 

"She wasn't contacted by law enforcement for an hour," McLeod said. "At that time, she had changed her clothing and she still had pieces of windshield in her hair."

Police say her live-in boyfriend at some point called the police and reported the incident, police said. Officers found her at her house, approximately two blocks from where she left the car. 

Sanchez could face 15 years to life if convicted. 

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone who witnessed the collision or has information is asked to call the Oceanside Police Department at (760) 435-4911.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego
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<![CDATA[Defense Wrapping Up in Campaign Finance Scandal]]> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 17:50:43 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Bonnie-Dumanis-sketch-0825_2.jpg

A witness testified Thursday that District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis left campaign contribution envelopes with a wealthy billionaire from Mexico after a “meet and greet” at the businessman’s Coronado home in December 2011.

The witnesses was pressed on her alleged involvement in shuttling envelopes full of cash between a luxury car dealership and a former San Diego police detective.

Prosecutors say Jose Susumo Azano Matsura wanted to buy influence so he could transform San Diego’s waterfront into a “Miami West” with more nightlife and high-rise condos.

Dumanis testified Wednesday she believed the billionaire businessman was a United States Citizen.

Today, a prosecutor read prior Grand Jury testimony to witness Elizabeth Lugo about Dumanis allegedly leaving a handful of campaign envelopes with Azano. Lugo testified Dumanis’ fundraiser, Kelli Maruccia, returned with a large box of empty campaign envelopes, after the handful Dumanis allegedly left, ran out.

Lugo, a cousin to the billionaire’s wife, repeatedly testified Thursday that she did not recall the prior testimony she gave to the Grand Jury.

“I do not recall,” she said repeatedly. “I don’t remember being asked about that.”

Lugo said she also did not recall testifying about her role shuttling a box of envelopes full of cash between luxury car dealer Marc Chase and former San Diego police detective Ernie Encinas.

Both Chase and Encinas have pleaded guilty to their involvement.

Azano is accused of illegally trying to influence local campaigns by compensating campaign donors with cash.

Foreign nationals are not allowed to donate to local campaigns.

Azano’s defense attorney said his client wasn’t privy to what Encinas was up to with the envelopes full of cash.

“Ernie Encinas is the individual who had an interest in developing his security business, including with nightclubs and strip clubs and getting those businesses to serve alcohol later at night,” Defense Attorney Michael Wynee said outside the federal courthouse Wednesday. “That was his alternative agenda and his alternative motive.”

The defense called businessman Manuel Rodriguez, who testified he has been close friends with Azano for more than 20 years. Rodriguez testified Azano wanted to move to Miami, not create a Miami-like development along San Diego’s bay front.

On cross examination, a prosecutor switched gears a bit proposing the idea was to develop Chula Vista’s bay front, based on a meeting between former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, Azano and a Middle East businessman at Azano’s Coronado home. As mayor of San Diego, not Chula Vista, Filner did not have jurisdiction over Chula Vista’s bay front, which includes several hundred acres of federal wetlands, and a San Diego Gas & Electric substation.

The federal trial is expected to wrap up Friday or early next week when the case will be handed over to a jury for a ruling.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[SDSO Releases New Information in Deputy-Involved Shooting]]> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 22:06:43 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Poway-Deadly-Shooting-081816.jpg

New details revealed on Thursday show that a suspect in an deputy-involved shooting in Poway did not fire his weapon, but did point his gun at a deputy.

Deputies feared 38-year old Trenton Lohman would harm citizens, leading them to open fire at him, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department (SDSO).

The incident began on Aug. 18, when deputies responded to reports of suspicious activity in the parking lot of an auto repair shop on Poway Road.

“When the first initial deputy showed up, he was confronted by Lohman. Mr. Lohman produced a handgun and pointed it at the deputy,” said SDSO Lt. Kenn Nelson. “The deputy fearing for his life and safety, fired multiple rounds.”

Lohman had then attempted to leave in his own vehicle but was blocked by several deputies arriving on scene. He then got into a deputy’s patrol car and drove off, leading police on a pursuit through Poway.

During the pursuit, Lohman got out of the patrol car and carjacked a person at gunpoint at the intersection of Espola and Poway roads. He had driven approximately 100 yards in the SUV when four deputies fired at him.

“They knew he was armed,” said Nelson, speaking of the deputies involved in the incident. “They knew he already pointed a gun at deputies, they knew he pointed a gun at a citizen and carjacked him. So, they were fearful if he go away, he would do other violent acts towards citizens of Poway and San Diego.”

Lohman was shot in the upper body and the SUV veered off the road and down into a ravine. He was found dead inside the vehicle.

According to SDSO, deputies found another gun, a hatchet, ammunition and knives inside the hijacked SUV.

Lohman had been on parole from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation when he was shot.

People who knew him had told NBC 7 that he had been attempting to turn his life around and they don’t know what went wrong.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Horse Deaths Prompt Track Changes, Call for Investigation]]> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 14:24:15 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/11PW_VO_DEL_MAR_RACE_TR_KNSD55XH_1200x675_353914947846.jpg

So many horses have died at Del Mar this season, a California lawmaker is calling for a state investigation and track managers have decided to delay the start of the 2017 racing season.

Animal advocates claim 19 race horses have been euthanized since the summer season of racing at Del Mar began on Friday, July 15. According to the track president, the number of horses euthanized due to injury this season is 12.

According to the state’s weekly reports, 16 horses have died since the season began.

Both sides agree the loss of one horse is too many.

On Thursday, State Rep. Lori Saldana urged the California Horse Racing Board to investigate deaths and injuries at Del Mar.

“No spectator sport should ever have to put up with this type of loss of animals especially when it happens in view of families that are here for race day,” Saldana said.

She cited recent changes at SeaWorld San Diego and traveling circuses as evidence that there has been a shift when it comes to interacting with animals during our leisure time.

“It could be that people’s attitudes are changing,” she added.

The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club (DMTC), facing increased criticism over the deaths, will push back the 2017 season start date and implement new biomarker technology on horses next year.

Track president Joe Harper said both moves are to prevent further deaths.

“Believe me, when one [horse] is injured, we all feel it,” Harper said.

After an early rash of horses suffering fatal injuries at the track, Harper brought in a specialist who studied the turf. The expert found it was “where it should be,” Harper said.

Harper said he also added more veterinarians to check the horses. Every horse is examined at least three times a day, he said, in the morning, in the afternoon in the receiving barn and again in the paddock to ensure they warm up properly.

In 2017, Del Mar will schedule Opening Day later in the summer to give horses a chance to adjust to the track, Harper said.

The club will also start a program using biomarker technology on the horses through funding with the Jockey Club and the DMTC. Blood samples will be taken from competition horses, according to Harper, giving them a picture of what’s going on with the horse before and after the race.

“This is a fairly new procedure,” he said. “I think it will certainly tell us a lot about what’s in these horses as they get to the starting gate.”

The first fatality happened on Opening Day when a horse named Presidential Air “broke down badly” in the sixth race according to the Daily Forum. The horse was euthanized.

On July 21, Pacific Swell broke down in the fifth race.

On July 23, the Los Angeles Times reported that Dutchessa collapsed 40 yards past the finish line during Race 2 and had to be euthanized.

On July 24, Fasnacloich broke down in the second race and was euthanized according to the track steward’s minutes.

On August 11, Summer Scorcher was euthanized after breaking down in Race 6.

On August 12, Hadfunlastnight was pulled post-race and euthanized according to the track steward’s minutes.

The Jockey Club monitors injuries and fatalities on tracks and offers a set of statistics for Del Mar from 2015. In 60 race days, there were 10 fatalities. The year before, in 2014, there were nine fatalities in 51 days.

<![CDATA[Ex-Vista High Basketball Coach Pleads Not Guilty]]> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 14:00:49 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/vista+high+school+2.JPG

A one-time Vista High School basketball coach accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a female student pleaded not guilty in court Thursday.

Charlie Mercado, 36, pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of annoying or molesting a child. He posted the $100,000 bail when first taken into custody and is out on bail. 

The case surfaced on May 11 when the victim, a high school junior, told a campus administrator she had engaged in an inappropriate relationship with the coach, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

Investigators said Mercado pursued an intimate relationship with the teen and, on one occasion, met her off school grounds for inappropriate physical contact.

Mercado was the school's walk-on boys basketball varsity coach from August 2005 to May 2016, according to the Vista Unified School District. He also was a substitute teacher from August 2005 to February 2008.

Mercado is no longer an employee of the school, as of May of this year, the school district reported on Thursday.

He surrendered to authorities in July when he learned a warrant had been issued for his arrest. 

Mercado is due back in court on Sept. 27 at 8:30 a.m. 

Detectives are continuing to investigate the case. Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477 and be eligible for a $1,000 reward.

Photo Credit: Google Maps
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<![CDATA[Man's Car Stolen With Father's Ashes Inside]]> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 05:34:51 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/08-24-16+stolen+ashes.JPG

A San Diego man, who had his car stolen last week, is asking for the person responsible to return his father’s ashes to him. The ashes had been inside the car, along with a cellphone that held a final message from his father.

Zachary Johnson, 22, moved into his new apartment on the 800 block of Date Street in downtown San Diego Friday night.

He told NBC 7 that he had parked his 2011 White Chevy Malibu in front of his apartment but the next morning, he couldn’t locate it. He said at first he thought his car may have been towed and began making phone calls.

After a while, he realized it had been stolen.

Johnson said he doesn’t care about getting his car back—he just wants his father’s ashes returned to him.

"It’s like I lost him again. It’s not as devastating but pretty close,” he said. “I thought I'd always have him, his ashes with me—now it looks like I'm not going to.”

Johnson told NBC 7 that he had listened to the message his father left on the cellphone from time to time for strength.

“It was just telling me that he loved me and stuff,” he said. “I missed his call so he left me a voicemail. It was a week before he passed away.”

Also in the car were mementos of Johnson’s life, including his high school diploma.

“Everything in there is replaceable except the stuff they gave me and my dad's ashes. They can keep it all. I would do anything to get that stuff back. It’s very heartbreaking,” he said.

Johnson said his father’s ashes are in a wooden box shaped like a cross with jewels on it. He's hoping the person who took will return it to him, along with the cellphone.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Meth Dog Works at Rehab Center]]> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 17:14:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/meth-dog--rehab-082516.PNG

A Chihuahua named Jack Sparrow, who was once hospitalized and put through rehab after vets found meth in his system, now serves as a comforting pup to patients recovering from alcohol and drug abuse, his owner said Thursday.

Jack Sparrow made headlines in July after his owner brought him into the Inland Valley Emergency Pet Clinic in Upland. Veterinarians said the dog was acting erratically, suffering from seizures and convulsions.

They tested him, and found methamphetamine in his system.

Jack's owner, 21-year-old Isaiah Nathaniel Sais, told the veterinarians the dog may have eaten meth, according to Fontana police.

When the test results came back positive, Sais took off with Jack.

Police arrested Jack Sparrow's owner, and he was taken to doggie rehab.

After Jack Sparrow's detox, a woman who works at an alcohol and drug treatment center adopted Jack.

The patients benefiting from his company renamed him Micah, which means "new beginnings."

"I think they had an instant bond with him. When he first came in and they heard his story, many of them could relate to him. They seemed to have that instant connection with him, wanted to bond with him and wanted to show him love," said Erin Hill, the pup's new owner.

NBC4's Tony Shin contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Family Wins Suit Over Lost Ashes]]> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 18:14:45 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/082516+annie+hughes.jpg

A jury awarded a South Florida family $3.5 million Thursday, blaming a funeral home for mixing up their mother's ashes with someone else.

The state revoked the license for the funeral home permanently, but there's another one operating in the same location with the same owner and the same woman working inside, who the family blames for causing them so much pain.

Ronda Mitchell was in court hoping for answers as to what happened to their mother, 54-year-old Annie Hughes, who died two years ago.

"Right now I still cry for her," said Mitchell.

Hughes' body was turned over to the Taylor Smith West Funeral Home. Her family from Homestead and Belle Glade, where the funeral home was located, were in court Thursday in West Palm Beach.

The family's attorney, Vincent Paravato, says the ashes given back to the family in the box were not their mothers.

"They did not give her back her mom's remains," said Pavarato. "They strung her along, lied to her, fabricated documents, committed crimes, and five to six months later they gave her somebody else's remains. Basically a monster of a funeral home."

Two years ago the family started a search to find what happened to Hughes.

"Where is my sister, where is she?" asked Mayley Michel, Hughes' sister.

The place where the funeral home said, in their documents, the body was cremated never had Hughes' body.

"It's devastating. I don't have any closure, (but) I still have more questions," said Ronda Taylor, daughter of Hughes. "My mom's body is still out there. I don't know where she's at and it's heartbreaking."

The state revoked the funeral home's license calling it a danger to the public and said it delivered a body in a body bag wrapped in a blanket to a consumer. They added that on multiple occasions the funeral home provided consumers with incorrect remains.

"I can't imagine how many people are out there. The state closed them down and now they are back operating under a different name," says the family's attorney. "Stevens Funeral Home, I believe. Same actors, same location, same story."

NBC 6 went looking for the owners of the funeral home at an official address listed and ended up at the pack and ship store in Pompano Beach.

At at the funeral home itself, no one answered the door. A new name is outside, but when we called the woman we spoke with was Sonya Rumph, the same woman the family says handed them the wrong ashes.

"Justice, I want them to go to jail," said Taylor. "I want them to be closed down and I want everyone that was involved to be locked up, it's like they are still free to do it to other families."

NBC 6 asked the state how this could happen and it told us the license for the current funeral home was transferred there from another funeral home owned by the same company that didn’t have issues.

The jury awarded damages to punish the funeral home and prevent others from doing this and now attorney Paravato is on a mission to collect this money from the owners. Rumph had no comment and the lawyers for the funeral home did not show up Thursday.

<![CDATA[Local Veterans Group Protests MCAS Miramar Air Show]]> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 23:11:49 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/MiraAS20_1012+copy.jpg

A local Veterans group used rush-hour traffic to get attention for their call to end the MCAS Miramar Air Show.

The San Diego Chapter of "Veterans For Peace" says the military is selling war to the public. They took their message to the Carroll Canyon Road overpass along I-15 near MCAS Miramar Thursday afternoon.

"These planes don't drop cupcakes on people. These things drop bombs and they blow people up, "said David Patterson who served in the Air Force and is now a member of San Diego Veterans For Peace.

The group held banners in view of passing drivers.

They said their hope is that families will choose to stay home rather than attend the annual air show.

“These machines are built to kill, that’s what they're built for. They're not built for fun. This isn’t Disneyland," said Jackie Hider.

First Lieutenant Gabriel Adibé, the Deputy Director of Public Affairs for MCAS Miramar, recently wrote that the air show is an important time for the service members to thank the San Diego community, spend time with their families and open the doors to the otherwise tightly guarded base.

This year's show will be held September 23 through the 25.

General admission is free and grandstand tickets start at $10.

Photo Credit: NBCSanDiego]]>
<![CDATA[Pacific Beach Pipeline Noise Upsetting Neighbors]]> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 21:50:30 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/08-25-16+Pacific+Beach+Pipeline+Project.JPG

A multi-million dollar city project replacing aging water and sewer pipes has already hit a snag.

Construction began just a couple of weeks ago near Mission Hills; now residents say the construction noise is too much to handle.

Pam Elliott's apartment complex on the 3000 block of Kettner Boulevard looks a little bit different than when she moved in three weeks ago. A construction zone sits just steps from her bedroom window.

This may not be too big of a deal during the day when people are at work, but crews work all through the night.

Elliott told NBC 7 she was shocked after her first night in her new home.

"All these trucks backing up going beep, beep, beep! All of these jack hammers. I'm like what is going on?" she said.

The Pacific Beach Pipeline Project started at Kettner Boulevard and Walnut Avenue about three weeks ago. A flyer was left at nearby resident's doors giving them some warning about the noise.

The city was granted a permit to work in the overnight hours; so from 8:30 p.m. to 8:30 a.m., Sunday through Thursday, crews are working.

The overnight permit was granted by Code Compliance. The department decides the permit based on the least amount of impact on residents. For this location, daytime traffic delays from construction crews proved to be more of an impact than the overnight noise for about 10 nearby residents.  

"There's no businesses here now. Other than us. Not much traffic here at all," said mechanic Ray Chavez.

Chavez also said that his customers never have a problem parking, even with many parking spaces now taken up by equipment.

But for nearby residents like Elliot, she's just hoping she wakes up from this nightmare soon.

"I haven't slept since I lived here. Last night, I had to go to my friend's because I had to get some sleep," she said.

The project is expected to be completed in about three years, finally ending in Pacific Beach.

<![CDATA[Glimpsing the Colonel's KFC REcipe]]> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 20:43:09 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/kfc+GettyImages-72301196.jpg

The Kentucky Fried Chicken recipe is famous for two things: being "finger lickin' good," and being incredibly secret. 

It's so secret, in fact, that KFC sued the last person who claimed to have found it. But now, the cat may be out of the bag, thanks to a reporter at the Chicago Tribune who traveled to Corbin, Kentucky, to interview the nephew of Colonel Sanders himself.

Joe Ledington flipped through a family photo album with the reporter, stopping to pull out the last will and testament of his aunt Claudia, Sanders' second wife. 

On the back of the document, the Tribune reports, was the top secret 11 herbs and spices that were notoriously transported via armed guard to a secure location in 2008. 

The full recipe as shown is: 

11 spices — mix with 2 cups white flour


  • 2/3 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon thyme
  • 1/2 tablespoon basil
  • 1/3 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon celery salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried mustard
  • 4 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons garlic salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 3 tablespoons white pepper
After revealing the possible recipe, however, Ledington walked back the claim in a phone interview, saying he did not "know for sure" if it was authentic. 
A KFC spokesperson later told the Tribune via email, "We go to great lengths to protect such a sacred blend of herbs and spices. In fact, the recipe ranks among America's most valuable trade secrets."


"Lots of people through the years have claimed to discover or figure out the secret recipe, but no one's ever been right," the spokesperson added.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Andy's Smoke Shop Employee Arrested for Selling Spice: SDPD]]> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 22:59:37 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/8-25-16-Spice-SDPD.JPG

An employee at Andy's Smoke Shop in Hillcrest has been arrested for selling the synthetic drug spice after the store was caught in violation of a City ordinance and a recent cease and desist order, San Diego Police (SDPD) said.

The City of San Diego ordinance, considered the toughest of its kind in the state of California, bans the sale, manufacture, possession and distribution of spice and related drugs. 

Spice, or K2, is a chemical mixture sprayed on to a plant substance that users can then smoke or ingest to achieve a similar effect to marijuana. It is sold under a variety of names, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Employees at Andy’s Smoke Shop, located at 550 University Avenue, were first found to have sold the drug earlier this year. The city issued a cease and desist notice after the first violation.

When the owners of the store met with a City Attorney representative in May 2016, the owners agreed to permanently stop selling spice.

Approximately month later, on June 14, the City of San Diego enacted a new ordinance banning the possession and sales of synthetic drugs, including spice.

The owners were notified of the ordinance, but on June 28, they were served with a court order prohibiting spice sales from the store.

Several months later, in August, narcotic detectives learned the illegal drug was still being sold at the smoke shop.

After obtaining a search warrant, detectives searched the property and recovered approximately two pounds of spice in bulk quantity and packaged for sale. The drug can lead to medical emergencies such as seizures, comas and hallucinations.

Store employee Ossam Shaba, 55, was arrested for violating a court order and possession for sales of synthetic drugs, police said. Authorities said they found the drugs on Shaba, in his car and inside the store. He was booked into jail; the City Attorney’s office will prosecute the case.

NBC 7 spoke to several people at businesses near Andy's Smoke Shop who said they are hoping that after Thursday's incident, the drug and transient culture in the area will change.

Matthew Lowe works at a restaurant close by and told NBC 7 that his tip jar was looted, ice cream had been stolen and his facade defiled by intoxicated individuals passing by.

“You see the people around here that are under the influence spice, it just gives it a bad look,” Lowe said. “If they can't get [spice] in the neighborhood, then they're not going to be around here."

Kassidy Recendiz runs the spa next door.

“It's definitely very sad. We don't want to see people dying or getting sick, we already have enough drugs out there that are not good for people,” she said.

Meanwhile, an employee from Andy's Smoke Shop was left to clean up after detectives searched through the store on Thursday.

Samir Kazkorkis told NBC 7 that the store does not sell spice and that it was unfairly targeted.

But police said the store had been selling the synthetic drug after it had been banned.

Those who violate the drug ordinance face criminal and civil penalties up to and including six months in jail, a $1,000 fine, or three years’ probation and a $2,500 fine, depending on the circumstances of the violation.

Photo Credit: San Diego Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Man Found Dead on I-8 Was Homeless]]> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 20:32:07 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Body_I8_MissionValley.jpg

A man found dead on the westbound Interstate 8 in Mission Valley last week had been homeless, San Diego Police Department (SDPD) said on Thursday.

Lt. Ray Velentin from SDPD's Homicide Unit said the man's death is not considered to be suspicious.

On Aug. 19 at approximately 6 a.m., the California Highway Patrol received reports of someone walking on the north shoulder of the westbound I-8, just east of Interstate 805. When officers arrived on scene, they found a man who was heavily bleeding from the back of his head.

He died at the scene.

SDPD had initially said the man's injuries did not appear to be from getting struck by a car.

But on Thursday, Valentin told NBC 7 that the man may have been hit by a passerby vehicle.

Valentin said the man had been homeless.

Since his family has  not been notified yet, SDPD did not release his name.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[SD Resembles SF In Salaries vs Housing Prices Gap]]> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 22:00:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/199*120/San-Diego-skyline-generic-01.jpg

A new study of nationwide housing prices shows San Diego’s market is on a par with San Francisco as the most unaffordable -- based on the relative salaries that would-be buyers need to qualify for mortgages.

Research by HSH Mortgage Services ranks Los Angeles next among 27 major metro areas in the gap between median home prices and median incomes.

In San Diego and San Francisco, the disparities raise red flags about economic stability.

“We have a robust economy -- a diversified, robust economy -- that demands employees, and those employees demand housing,” says Gary London, president of London Group Realty Advisors. "And not nearly enough housing is being built."

In an interview Thursday, London cited an undesirable mix of local housing stock coming on line.

For example, too much emphasis on multi-unit projects, as opposed to single-family "detached" dwellings that even millennials ultimately will opt for once they start having families.

Also, a shrinking land supply and regulations that drive up building costs.

The HSH study shows San Diego homebuyers need salaries of $109,000 to qualify for a monthly mortgage of $2,500 to meet the median home price of $590,000.

Market analysts say that sends income-stressed workers elsewhere and discourages business start-ups and expansions -- pushing companies toward other areas and states to protect their profit margins and growth potential.

Says Sean Karafin, director of police and economic research for the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce: "They might also know they don't have to pay as much in somewhere like Boston, and Denver because their employees don't have the same requirements when it comes to housing costs. So this is very real, and we lose jobs for San Diegans."

The most affordable major metro housing market, according to HSH, is Pittsburgh.

Prospective buyers there need a salary of $32,000 to qualify for a $756 monthly mortgage on a median home price of $140,000.

But those numbers have grown 17 percent since the first quarter of this year, so time may be of the essence for those now looking to buy.

<![CDATA[US Navy Ship Fires Shots at Iranian 'Fast Boat']]> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 20:03:04 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/IranShip-AP_16238734274681.jpg

A U.S. Navy ship fired several warning shots near an Iranian “fast boat” on Wednesday, according to a senior Department of Defense official, NBC News reported. 

The USS Squall and the USS Tempest were operating in close formation with a Kuwaiti Navy ship when the Iranian boat came dangerously close. The Iranian vessel passed between the two American ships at one point, coming within a couple hundred yards of the two ships. 

The U.S. fired flares and attempted radio communication, but both were unsuccessful. The Squall fired a few shots into the water as a deterrent. The U.S. rarely fires warning shots, according to the defense official. 

On Thursday, Iran's defense minister said those Iranian vessels were just doing their job and that the American ships crossed into Iran’s maritime region. The U.S. asserts that the ships were in international waters at the time.

Photo Credit: AP, File,]]>
<![CDATA[Employment Advertising Agency Holds Job Fair in San Diego]]> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 20:55:11 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP_16139799821232.jpg

A major employment advertising agency held a job fair in San Diego on Thursday.

Jobertising.com San Diego Job Fair hosted feature exhibits from local and national companies, and government agencies with more than 1,000 combined job openings.

Representatives from the City of San Diego, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Aflac, Prudential and Sycuan Casino were at the Handlery Hotel in Mission Valley looking for their next employees.

Other companies represented include SAY San Diego, AMN Healthcare, Parker, Diamond Resorts International, SOLVIS Staffing Services, ITT Technical Institute, The Arc of San Diego, Lorain Health Home Health Care, California Conservation Corps, Springleaf Financial and Express Staffing.

More than 600 people attended the fair.

Jobertising.com hosts job listings from hundreds of job boards and company sites, and includes career-related diversity news stories and a resume posting feature.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Local School Skips Homework Assignments for Students]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 20:22:23 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Class+Generic.png

When it comes to homework, how much is enough?

One local school is rethinking homework---by not assigning any.

At Design39Campus in the Poway Unified School District, there is a “homework is different policy,” according to the principal Joe Erpelding, who also calls it a home connect policy.

The school adheres to HELO, home extended learning opportunities.

“We want you to go outside and play, we want you to read, we want you to expand your vocabulary, go to the grocery store with your mom and help her keep a budget and learn your math facts,” Hilary Duggan told her fourth and fifth grade students.

The students are encouraged to read at home, and to choose a “passion project,” something they like doing.

“When you have ownership over your learning, you have complete engagement in what you're learning, and that what we want to facilitate,” Erpelding said.

“I like to write things, it doesn't matter what it is," a student told NBC 7.

“I like to learn about new things, especially about animals,” another student said.

One student said there was enough time in school to learn the material, making homework unnecessary.

In Texas, a teacher's sent note to parents telling them she was eliminating homework for her second grade class went viral.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[University in Kabul Will Reopen After Attack]]> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 17:41:40 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/KabulAmericanUniversity-AP_16238095788048.jpg

The nonprofit that supports the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul said the school would reopen following the attack that killed 14 people on Wednesday, NBC News reported. 

"AUAF is dedicated to its educational mission in service to Afghanistan and has no intention of giving into terror," the Friends of the American University in Afghanistan said in a statement, using an acronym for the learning institution. 

Militants detonated a car bomb outside the university's gate and stormed the complex with guns in a 10-hour attack that ended Thursday morning. 

Fourteen people — seven students, one professor, three police and two security officers — were killed. One attacker died in the car bomb blast and two militants were killed by police, authorities and a hospital official said. Forty-eight people were injured and taken to hospitals, according to a medical official.

The university in Afghanistan is not affiliated with American University in Washington, D.C. 

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[District Attorney Testifies in Campaign Finance Scandal]]> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 17:48:21 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/azano-dumanis-crop.jpg

Testimonies continued in federal court on Wednesday in a campaign finance scandal involving a Mexican businessman.

Jose Susumo Azano Matsura, 48, referred to as “Mr. Lambo” in the indictment, is facing federal charges for allegedly funneling $600,000 into San Diego campaigns.

According to the indictment, he is one of several individuals accused of hiding the source of campaign donations or concealing donations in records with the San Diego City Clerk, the Federal Election Commission, or the California Secretary of State.

Earlier this month, San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis was subpoenaed to testify in federal court on Aug. 10 as a witnesses. She was called to the stand by Azano's legal team.

On Wednesday, Dumanis testified that she had two meetings with Azano. She described the first meeting as a meet-and-greet at the businessman's home in Coronado and the second meeting happened at San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore's house.

Azano is accused of making more than $600,000 in illegal contributions to former Mayor Bob Filner, failed mayoral candidate Bonnie Dumanis, and other candidates.

NBC 7 spoke to Azano's attorney on Wednesday who told us that his client called Dumanis to tell the truth and her part of the story.

“I asked the questions that I thought that the jury and the community want answers to,” Azano's attorney Michale Wynne said.

Wynn said Dumanis' testimony proved that former San Diego Police Detective Ernie Encinas wanted the meetings to happen to help further his own security businesses. 

“The concepts and ideas that are being raised in this trial by the government are almost preposterous,” he said.

Encinas has already pleaded guilty, orchestrating his role in the donations.

As the trial unfolds, 61 witnesses are expected to testify, including several high-profile witnesses like Sheriff Bill Gore and former councilman and current radio host Carl DeMaio.

On Aug. 10, the day Azano's defense subpoenaed Dumanis, they also subpoenaed Congressman Juan Vargas and former Union-Tribune Publisher Doug Manchester to testify.

Prosecutors list 20 instances in which campaign finance records were falsified to send money from Azano to three candidates in local elections.

It is illegal for a foreign national to donate to a U.S. political campaign.

According to court documents, Azano's motive was to develop San Diego's waterfront into a Miami-of-the-West, with condos and a high-end hotel.

The businessman has also been charged with illegally possessing a firearm, a black Sig Sauer P225 semi-automatic pistol.

Three other defendants, including Azano's son, are on trial. They are accused of getting the money to where it needed to go.

Azano's attorney told NBC 7 that the donations to Dumanis and others will be explained on Thursday.

<![CDATA['I Am Not a Victim:' TV Sportscaster to Shooter]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 16:52:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Kyle-Kraska-sentencing-0824.jpg

San Diego television sportscaster Kyle Kraska, who suffered multiple gunshot wounds outside his Scripps Ranch home in February 2015, spoke directly to the man convicted of attempted murder in the shooting.

“I am not a victim. I will never be a victim,” Kraska said in a downtown courtroom Wednesday moments before a judge sentenced the man who attacked him.

Mike Montana, a painter, was convicted of attempted murder after shooting Kraska in the chest, leg, hip and bicep.

“Your bullets may have hit their mark but they did not kill my spirit. It did not destroy my passion and it will not extinguish my love for life,” Kraska said.

Kraska was emotional several times in his seven-minute victim's impact statement. He survived the shooting by crawling on the ground for 50 to 60 feet and asking a neighbor to call for help.

Montana was initially hired to paint Kraska's home.

However, there was a dispute over the quality of the work between Kraska and Montana. Kraska said he fronted Montana $800 for supplies before the painter quit without completing the work. Montana said Kraska failed to pay him $2,200. 

Montana's defense attorney asked the judge to take into consideration his client's use of prescription drugs.

Judge Michael T. Smyth said he took that into consideration as well as a letter from Montana's sister that described a friendly, non-violent man whose actions were brought about by external forces.

“There is no doubt in my view that he was then and now remains a danger to society because of that inability to control himself,” said Smyth.

Montana received 38 years, 8 months to life in prison with possibility of parole.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[6-Year-Old Rancho Santa Fe Boy Summits Mt. Whitney]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 21:24:56 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Anthony+Slosar+0824.jpg

A Rancho Santa Fe boy became one of the youngest people to ever complete the “portal to peak” hike on Mount Whitney earlier this month.

Anthony Slosar, 6, set out with his family in the early hours of the morning on August 5, embarking on a 12-hour journey to the summit of the tallest mountain in the Lower 48; he didn't return to the trailhead for another 20 hours.

Mt. Whitney’s marquis “portal to peak” trail begins at Whitney Portal and ascends more than 6,000 feet of elevation over 11 miles to the mountain’s peak at 14,505 feet. 

Climbing Whitney was Anthony's idea. His inner competitor wanted to hike the trail at a younger age than his big brother Jackson, who accomplished the feat at age seven.

Formal records for summiting hikers are not kept, but published reports suggest that he may in fact be the youngest to ever reach the top.

Anthony’s father, Jeff, told NBC 7 that he was prepared to cut feet holes in his backpack so that he could carry his son, but Anthony insisted from the beginning that carrying was not allowed—holding hands with dad was, though.

He got over his initial fears of elves, crocodiles and other creatures he thought he might encounter, and pushed himself toward the top despite seeing his older brother and sister turn back after succumbing to altitude sickness.

“If you can teach your kids a lesson beyond the golden rule, not quitting, I think, is important,” Jeff Slosar said. “This was a very tangible example of that."

Once Anthony gets a chance to watch “Captain America: Civil War”, a movie his mother initially forbade him from watching before granting permission as a reward for finishing the climb, he’ll set his eyes on future expeditions in the Grand Canyon and the Grand Teton Range in northeastern Wyoming.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Total Solar Eclipse in 2017]]> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 04:02:31 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/212*120/total+eclipse.jpg

North America will see its first total eclipse since 1979 in a year, and some people are planning ahead by booking hotel rooms.

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon crosses between the earth and the sun, which is blocked out. The moon and the Earth will be perfectly aligned for a few minutes on Aug. 21, 2017. 

But viewers in the tri-state area will have to settle for a partial eclipse. The prime viewing spots in the eastern United States include most of South Carolina, central Tennessee and a sliver of Georgia.

Self-described eclipse chaser Mike Kentrianakis told KPCC, a public radio station in California, that the best viewing spots for the total eclipse will be within a 70-mile wide path that stretches from the Pacific Northwest to South Carolina. 

"Oh, it's bigger than the Super Bowl, much bigger," said Kentrianakis

The next total solar eclipse after the 2017 alignment will happen in 2024.

Read more at KPCC.

Photo Credit: AP/File]]>
<![CDATA[Co-Pilot Arrested After Captain Suspects Him of Flying Drunk]]> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 16:32:46 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/handcuffs-generic-on-black.jpg

A charter plane pilot was abruptly grounded Thursday at a Michigan airport after police discovered he was allegedly too drunk to fly, NBC News reported. 

The captain of the plane notified the Cherry Capital Airport tower in Traverse City that there was something wrong with his co-pilot as he prepared to land. 

When police arrived, the co-pilot was at the controls and preparing to take off for Bedford, Massachusetts, with a dozen passengers on board. 

The co-pilot, who was not named, was fired from Talon Air. Police said he was arrested after registering a blood alcohol content of .30 — four times the legal limit for driving a car.

<![CDATA[‘We’re One Big Family’: Locals Mourn Italy Quake Victims]]> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 16:39:35 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-595018736.jpg

Italians living in San Diego are mourning the victims of the deadly 6.2-magnitude earthquake that struck central Italy and killed at least 250 people, saying the tragedy hits close to home since, in the Italian culture, everyone is family.

“We are a big family; it’s something in Italy, we grow up with, because all the families are very big,” said Alfonso Piscane, chef of the restaurant Civico 1845 in San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood. “In front of this big tragedy, when we really show the best part of us. We show our big heart. But to be honest with you, it doesn’t matter where you come from, we all feel like we need to do something to help in the way we can.”

Piscane, who is originally from the Amalfi Coast in Southern Italy, told NBC 7 that Civico 1845 is in the process of raising funds for the victims of the Italy earthquake.

Starting Monday, if a patron orders the “Amatriaciana” dish from the menu (spaghetti, pork cheek, pecorino cheese and tomato sauce), the eatery will donate 100 percent of the money from that dish to the quake victims. The item will be offered for $16 for lunch and dinner; the fundraiser lasts for two weeks.

Meanwhile, a group of Italian men who meet every day for lunch at Little Italy’s Café Zucchero told NBC 7 on Thursday that they’re trying to put together a fundraiser for the victims, too, via other local restaurants.

Andrea Brudeddi, who is from Umbria, works at Solunto in Little Italy and told NBC 7 his family was near the epicenter of the deadly quake. He said they are all okay, but frightened.

“It never happened an earthquake with this strength in Italy. [It] lasted for more than two minutes,” Brudeddi explained. “It’s something really scary because you feel like you can’t do anything. It’s already tough being here when you have family and friends far away, and when you have a situation like that, it makes the situation even harder.”

Brudeddi said that for all staffers at Solunto, the quake is top of mind.

Joseph Sanfilippo, of Sicily, told NBC 7 he often has brunch in Little Italy with fellow Italians. Echoing Piscane’s thoughts, Sanfilippo said he feels for the victims because Italians are all family.

“Our culture, we’ve very close, we’re one big family and when something like that happens we all care about it,” he told NBC 7.

On Thursday, aftershocks rocked the quake zone in central Italy as rescue crews continued to work to find more survivors and victims in the rubble left behind in the three ancient communities that were hardest hit, including the medieval hilltop town of Amatrice.

Rescuers expect the death toll to rise. Scores of survivors are injured and being treated in area hospitals.

Some incredible stories of survival have emerged from the rubble, as well as deep sadness from those who lost family members, friends and neighbors in the seismic catastrophe.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rebels, Locals Reach Deal to Evacuate Damascus Suburb]]> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 13:53:53 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/DarayaSyria-GettyImages-512324298.jpg

A deal between rebels and Syria’s army was reached Thursday to evacuate all residents and insurgents from the Damascus suburb of Daraya, according to a rebel leader, NBC News reported. 

The country’s army has surrounded rebels and civilians, blocking food deliveries since 2012, and regularly bombing the area. 

It was one of the first places to see peaceful protests against President Bashar Assad’s rule, and fought off attempts to retake it by government fires as the conflict escalated into civil war. 

The evacuation would start Friday and last for two or three days, according to the head of the biggest rebel groups in Daraya. The deal would end one of the longest stand-offs in the five-year history.

Photo Credit: Xinhua News Agency/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Escaped Inmate Still at Large: SDSO]]> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 19:53:43 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/DEMETRIUS-B-ROBERTSONcrop.jpg

An inmate who escaped from a San Diego County Sheriff’s Department (SDSO) facility in Otay Mesa over the weekend remains at large, authorities confirmed Thursday.

Four days ago, officials at Facility 8 near the George Bailey Detention Facility on Alta Road were conducting an inmate headcount when they discovered Demetrius B. Robertson was missing.

As of 9 a.m. Thursday, the SDSO said Robertson was still on the lam. Investigators with the San Diego County Fugitive Task Force (FTF) are still actively searching for him.

Details of his escape have not been released.

Officials said Robertson – who sometimes goes by the name Demetrius Roberson – is described as 5-foot-9 and 195 pounds. He was last seen wearing a black sweatshirt, jeans and a baseball cap.

He’s been known to visit in Chula Vista, College Grove and Chollas View, according to the SDSO.

Robertson was arrested on May 23 on a probation violation on theft-related charges. He was considered a “low-risk” inmate and was placed in Facility 8, a 300-bed facility that houses inmates listed as “low-medium security.”

According to the SDSO, the facility, built in 2007, is considered a maximum security jail although it houses lower-security inmates.

Officials said the fugitive is not considered violent and is not a documented gang member. Anyone who spots Robertson can call 911 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.

Photo Credit: NBC 7, SDSO]]>
<![CDATA[Cyber Safety Experts Share Tips on Protecting Kids Online]]> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 12:28:51 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/cyber+security+family+0824.jpg

With the myriad online options available, safety experts say it’s essential for parents to talk with their kids about cyber safety and protecting themselves online.

With the school year fast approaching for many local families, NBC 7 took a look at how local families are arming themselves against cyber crimes.

One local family with four children, the Rosenoffs, pointed out that their house includes a TV, a computer, laptop and iPads, iPods and iPhones.

“It does feel overwhelming and honestly, I don’t think there’s ever a way to completely police it,” Kristin Rosenoff said.

Safety experts say that awareness is key because even with certain restrictions and parental-app approval, kids aren’t always completely protected.

Eva Velasquez, president of the Identity Theft Resource Center, said one of the most common mistakes that kids make is oversharing information about themselves, such as their address, school and location.

“Someone on the other end of that app isn’t necessarily going to be a 13-year-old girl in her room singing, but will now get to see your 13-year-old in her room singing,” Velasquez said.

Velasquez recommends first talking with your kids.

“One of the most important things we can do is have that conversation ahead of time, so that they’re prepared when they have to make a choice,” she said.

One resource that helps facilitate that discussion is thesmarttalk.org, which was developed by cyber security experts and the PTA.

Velasquez also recommends giving your kids online time limits and restrictions, like what they can download, and then print a contract.

Rosenoff said it’s that ongoing dialogue that keeps communication open and helps build trust in her family.

“We trust them (our kids), especially when they do come forward to us with different things and then we know that they’re really listening,” she said.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Portrait Honors Nation's Oldest Living Veteran]]> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 11:50:02 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/NC_overtonportrait0825_1920x1080.jpg An artist known for painting more than 300 portraits of fallen soldiers presented a portrait to the nation's oldest living veteran, Richard Overton of Austin, who turned 110 in May.

Photo Credit: KXAN]]>
<![CDATA[6 Small Businesses Earn Chamber Awards]]> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 11:16:44 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/SD-Chamber-Small-Biz-Winners-2016.jpg

From helping low-income students succeed to assisting U.S. military veterans, six small businesses in San Diego have earned awards for their work in our region.

The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce held its annual Small Business Awards reception earlier this week and awarded top honors to several local businesses that are contributing to the region and driving economic growth.

The winners included Reality Changers, a nonprofit that won the “Outstanding Nonprofit” category, for its important work helping low-income students improve their grades and graduate college at an 86 percent success rate. Since it was founded, the Chamber says Reality Changers has a total of over $100 million in earned scholarships.

Meanwhile, GroundMetrics, Inc. won the “Tech Savvy” award for its proprietary electromagnetic sensor, which has become a world leader in the oil and gas technology market. The tool helps customers use less fracking and drill fewer bad wells.

The Chamber awarded Moniker Group the “Only in San Diego” award for thinking beyond San Diego’s beaches and sunshine and harnessing the “cooperative entrepreneurial spirit to provide a community where designers, makers, artists and tech professionals can thrive.”

The San Diego Sports Entertainment Center was recognized as the “Cinderella Story” of the year. The small paintball recreation company lost everything in the 2008 financial crisis but has been able to make a comeback as a revitalized, thriving business with plans to expand nationwide.

Innovative Employee Solutions won the Chamber’s “Customer Service Star” for delivering on their motto that “excellent service isn't something you should do, but something you want to do.”

Finally, Miramar Federal Credit Union was dubbed “Best for Vets” in the Chamber’s 2016 Small Business Awards because of its mission to serve the U.S. military community in San Diego. The company has U.S. veterans on staff who can connect with their customers on that service level.

The Chamber said all of the businesses that won awards have fewer than 50 employees.

“Small businesses are really a driving force of our region's economy and the role they play is truly anything but small,” said Jerry Sanders, President and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber in a press release. “In fact - here in San Diego – half of our region's workforce is employed by companies with fewer than 50 employees.”

The winners were decided by a panel of judges. The Chamber has recognized small, local businesses through this program for nearly 20 years.

“It's an honor to have the opportunity to celebrate San Diego's small businesses and recognize all the hard work they do to create opportunity locally,” Sanders added.

The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce is the largest local Chamber on the West Coast and represents about 2,500 businesses and 300,000 jobs.

Photo Credit: San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce]]>
<![CDATA[Courtroom Sketch 'Not Very Flattering': DA]]> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 13:39:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Bonnie-Dumanis-sketch-0825_2.jpg

San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis appeared in federal court Wednesday to testify in a trial involving campaign finance.

Mexico businessman Jose Susumo Azano Matsura faces federal charges for allegedly funneling $600,000 into San Diego political campaigns. Dumanis was called to testify by Azano's defense team.

The morning after her testimony, when she appeared on a local television morning newscast, Dumanis commented that the sketch of her on the witness stand was "not very flattering."

Dumanis often visits television stations to discuss criminal matters. She has often been a guest on NBC 7.

On Thursday, she was talking with members of KUSI-TV when she joked about the courtroom sketch distributed following her testimony.

“I want to know the name of the artist who did those pictures,” she said. “ Boy did he make me look old.”

The artist, Krentz Johnson, earned her B.A. in Fine Arts from San Diego State University in 1978. She's been sketching courtroom testimony here in San Diego since 2003. NBC 7 has reached out to Johnson for comment.

In response to other questions about her testimony, Dumanis would not go into detail.

“I wouldn’t want to say anything that might impact that trial in any way,” she said.

On Wednesday, Dumanis testified that she had two meetings with Azano. She described the first meeting as a meet-and-greet at the businessman's home in Coronado and the second meeting happened at San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore's house.

Azano is accused of making more than $600,000 in illegal contributions to former Mayor Bob Filner, failed mayoral candidate Bonnie Dumanis, and other candidates.

The District Attorney has been a longtime friend of former SDPD detective Ernesto Encinas who pleaded guilty, admitting that he funneled money into local campaigns on behalf of Azano.

In July 2014, Dumanis appeared on the same television station to say she regretted writing a letter of recommendation for Azano's son.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Fake Black Radio Caller Sparks Controversy]]> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 08:19:13 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Dwayne-from-Swedesboro1.jpg

A white producer at the Philadelphia sports talk station 97.5 The Fanatic has sparked controversy after he created a black persona based on stereotypes to call into the station.

"Dwayne from Swedesboro" was a regular caller for the Mike Missanelli Show. The character, who claimed to be an African American man, often talked about his love for white women as well as his fear of having illegitimate children. He even had a Twitter account with a black man in the profile picture.

A recent report from Crossing Broad however reveals that "Dwayne from Swedesboro," was actually Pat Egan, a white producer at 97.5.

“I think the fact that it was a young white kid doing sort of like the stereotype of a black guy made it a lot worse and sort of just like piled on whatever that initial shock was,” said Kyle Scott, a blogger for Crossing Broad who wrote the story.

In a series of tweets, Egan seemed to admit to creating the character as an "exact opposite" of himself.

News that the character was fake sparked a mixed reaction with some criticizing the character’s stereotypical nature.

“It just seems that there are so many racial issues going on in the country,” said Tony Marchionne of Collingswood, New Jersey. “Why do we continue to promote these stereotypes?”

Some fans of the show didn’t find the character offensive, however, and instead believed he was simply entertaining.

“I didn’t take it as being extremely racial at all,” said Dave Whitman of Lansdale. “I kind of saw it more as just kind of a crazy, funny guy creating a reason to talk.”

Mike Missanelli directly addressed the controversy on his show Tuesday.

“The only thing I can do is tell you that I wasn’t in on it and I had no idea about it,” he said. “If you don’t want to believe that, that’s your choice. I could tell you first hand that had I known this was a fake I would have shut it down immediately because I would’ve been sensitive to the racial undertones of it.”

It’s unclear whether anyone at the radio station will be disciplined for the character. NBC10 reached out to 97.5 for comment but we have not yet heard back. 

The Philadelphia Business Journal also reports Josh Innes, a radio host on Sportsradio 94 WIP, was fired for his comments on the controversy.